Rachel Eisenstadt (1918-1990, née Bak, later Burstein) was born in Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania to Abraham (1899-1944) and Batya Bak. She had one brother, Hershel, and one sister, Leah (1916-1944). Her father owned flour mills and cattle in Kovno, and her brother Herschel worked with him. Before the war, she was married to factory owner Pinchas Burstein (1906-1945, born in Vilkomir, Lithuania). They had one son, Eliyahu (Alex) Burstein born on July 7, 1939.
In June 1940 the Soviet Union annexed Lithuania. Both Rachel and Pinchas’s factory and home were nationalized, and Rachel’s aunt and uncle were deported to Siberia. The Germans invaded Lithuania in 1941, and by August 1941 all the Jews in Kovno were sent to the ghetto. Pinchas worked in a workshop and Rachel collected firewood. They kept Alex hidden, successfully preventing him from being sent to the Ninth Fort on March 27, 1944 with the other Kovno children who would all perish. Rachel then asked her work supervisor, a woman named Lucy, to hide Alex, and she agreed. Rachel’s brother, Herschel, escaped from the ghetto around this time as well. In July 1944 the Germans began the final liquidation of the Kovno ghetto in advance of liberating Soviet troops. They deported the residents to Dachau and burned down the ghetto killing those who remained, including Rachel’s parents and sister, Leah. Her sister-in-law Chana (Hershel’s wife) jumped into a ditch from the train to Dachau, and later rejoined her husband. From Dachau, all the women were sent on to the Stutthof concentration camp. Pinchas contracted tuberculosis as a result of exposure to dust in an ammunition factory, and passed away in March, 1945. Rachel was liberated there in May, 1945.
After liberation, Rachel returned to Kovno to look for Alex. She found him together with her brother Herschel and his wife Chana, who had recovered him assuming that Rachel had perished. Lucy couldn’t keep Alex safe during the German’s final liquidation action, so Herschel grabbed his nephew and kept him in the woods with him. Alex and Rachel moved to Vilkomir, and then Poland under forged papers. They then went to Germany, first staying at the Schlachtensee displaced persons camp in Berlin, and then moving to the Landsberg displaced persons camp in Bavaria. There Rachel met and later married Boris Eisenstadt. In 1948, Boris, a committed Zionist, moved to Israel to fight in Israel’s War of Independence. After the war ended, Rachel and Alex joined him in Israel and settled in Bnai Braq. In 1951 Rachel gave birth to a daughter Betty. About a year later, they moved to Winnipeg, Canada to join Boris’s cousins.
Boris Eisenstadt (Berko, Dov, born Ajzensztat; 1916-1985) was born in Pinsk, Belarus to Shmuel (1899-1944) and Bella (née Mandelman; ca. 1900-1944) Ajzensztat. He had two sisters, Tzippe (ca. 1917-1944) and Haya (ca. 1918-1944). During the war, Boris served in the Red Army. After the war, he went to Landsberg where he met Rachel. The rest of his family perished in the war.